Is UPR Worth It’s Salt?


For those who don’t know, the Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR) is the charter that (theoretically) governs the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America.  –  Caveat: Because the Phanar likes to play fast and loose with the rules, the seriousness of the document is often taken with a grain of salt.  (Lots of grains of salt.)

Regardless of its sodium content, the UPR is a legally binding document in the United States, mainly because the GOA is headquartered in New York State which requires it for incorporation purposes.  And it is very detailed:  it spells out all of the policies and procedures that govern parish life and the relationships between entities throughout the Archdiocese. 

Believe it or not, it even has avenues for addressing grievances in confidentiality.  That means that ordinary laymen can submit their concerns in a formal manner to the Holy Eparchial Synod without fear of repercussion.  (If you want to look it up it is “Addendum B, section IV, paragraph p.”)

One concerned GOA layman sent us a very detailed letter he intends to send to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros.  Rather than hyperlink it in its entirety, his concerns are four-fold:

  1.  The political activism of His Eminence is particularly troublesome, as is his theological equivocation on a variety of issues, among them the use of the Blessed Virgin as to the right-to-life.
  2.  The Archbishop’s troublesome statements regarding vaccine mandates and apparent disregard for free will.  In addition, his ignoring of scientific evidence is contradictory to the prevailing vaccine mandates.  This includes ignoring the 22,000 deaths which were reported by the CDC’s own Virus Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
  3.  The scandalous changes in ecclesiology because of the COVID-19 hysteria.  This includes the use of multiple spoons,
  4.  The Archbishop’s ill-advised march and support for BLM, a racialist, Marxist organization, one of whose founders is committed to the destruction of the nuclear family. 

In the meantime, others within the GOA have come up with their own lists of concerns.  For example, many have contacted us offline, worried about the Archdiocese’s intention (real or imagined) to force the parishes to turn over their property.  This is particularly troubling given that many of these parishes are indebted in some form or another, (i.e. still owing on the mortgage or in the midst of a building project, etc.)  Will the GOA be able to take over their debts?  Or will they proceed to sell those parishes which are stagnant and/or are too heavily mortgaged? 

We saw an example of this two years ago when the GOA’s Chicago diocese forced the community of Holy Trinity to sell their (financially viable) parish even when the congregation begged Metropolitan Nathanael to reconsider taking this drastic –and unnecessary–step. 

The layman who sent me the following petition is not a meddlesome contrarian.  He’s not airing grievances; he’s come up with solutions to allay the fears of laymen such as himself.

Among them:

  1. He asks that the Archbishop “reevaluate the list of individuals who have been advising him as they have clearly contributed to these mistakes.”
  2. He asks that the Archbishop “rescind the policy which states that no religious exemptions will be granted, and allow the Parish Priests the discretion to issue exemptions.”
  3. “Rescind the vaccination mandate for the Archdiocese staff.”
  4. He asks that the Archbishop “issue a statement making it clear the Church is NOT [sic] pro-choice and qualify his comments about the Blessed Virgin.”  He asks as well that the Archdiocese stop giving awards to politicians whose “stated views” are contrary to Church teaching.
  5.  “The Archbishop should apologize for the multiple spoons controversy and ensure that this methodology will never again be used in any of the Parishes.”
  6.  “Ensure that no further support is provided for the Black Lives Matter organization or any other organization that expresses views contrary to the views of the Orthodox Church.”

Therefore, in accordance with the aforementioned Addendum B, he is prayerfully asking “that the Holy Eparchial Synod give the dispute, and the requested resolutions, some serious consideration.”

Is the UPR worth it’s salt?  I guess we’re about to find out.  If the salt spills, be sure to throw it over your shoulder.  We don’t need any more bad juju from the GOA. 

Mr. & Mrs. M


  1. How can the monasteries founded by Elder Ephraim of Blessed Memory be saved from the self-destructive trend of the GOA? How could they join with OCA or ROCOR?

    • I’d like to know this as well, sooner or later they will succumb to it and to think they won’t is folly.

    • They can’t. They will eventually just disappear or have a monk or two from Greece run the place as an Orthodox Disney attraction. St. Anthony’s will not leave the GOARCH even if their lead into Buddhism.. Its no different than Athos which will teeter on the verge of extinction by design. This is due to the shrinking population of Greece and due to many Greeks leaving Orthodoxy all together. There aren’t enough to replace the aging monks. The new rule is 90 percent of all monks on Athos must be ethnic Greeks. So there you have it, in one generation it will be gone.

      • “The new rule is 90 percent of all monks on Athos must be ethnic Greeks. ”

        Unlike Mt. Athos, Greek Americans have a realistic choice over which jurisdiction they can join.

        GOARCH’s membership must have a lot of group loyalty, and 1. CP Supremacy and 2. the OCU must not be big enough problems for them. My guess is that on average GOARCH laity and clergy don’t really care about these two issues, either Pro or Contra. Many, if not most, are probably even unaware of these two issues, or that the OCU even exists.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Most of the people in the GOA don’t even think about the monasteries. 5% are probably openly hostile to them. The problem with this new rule (I haven’t seen it) is not all the monasteries on Mt. Athos are Greek and many of them are not particularly sympathetic to the EP. When the UOC opened there were only two monks who attended and neither one of them looked all that comfortable. One ended up in the hospital, poor guy! All kinds of security were outside but no one showed up. Poroshenko was there with a bouquet of white flowers for Bartholomew. Even he looked grim.

      • The new rule is 90 percent of all monks on Athos must be ethnic Greeks.

        I’ve heard that most of the monasteries have ‘ways’ of circumventing that, which is reassuring.

      • Katherine George says

        Do you happen to know any of these monastics personally?

  2. At some point people are going to have to accept that Elpidophoros and the rest of the upper administration worship Satan and can’t be reasoned with.

    How does the UPR affect the revocation of the charter last year? Surely that wasn’t legal.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      People can be deceived by the evil one without worshipping Satan.

      Do you have any evidence he worships Satan or was that just an attention grab? In any case, it deserves some clarification.

      Because our sight is (heavily) moderated, we have to be sure we don’t post something we don’t know to be true. I have never heard Elpidophoros worships Satan.

      • George Michalopulos says

        What the lady says, Austin.

        We’d need actual evidence of that. Ecumenist, yes. Cultural Marxist, probably. Globalist, of course.

      • Thanks for challenging this. We are not helped by such theatrics….

      • Do I have an artifact to prove that the people who run our world worship Satan and molest children? No, but so far it’s the theory that fits the best, far better than other theories in this comments section about how Elpidophoros naive or liberal or doesn’t like listening to advice.

        If Elpidophoros skulked around thinking to himself, “What can I do next to further Satan’s plans?”, would things look any different? What specifically could he do that would be more in line with the antichrist than what he’s already done?

        Likewise with the rulers of the world. If Kamala Harris and Klaus Schwab literally sacrificed children to Moloch or Kali, would their policies look any different?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          That’s not what I asked and you didn’t present it as a “theory.”

          I think some people confuse this blog with other venues where you can just say whatever you want and get away with it. It’s not OK here and it’s exhausting to have to remind people either by not posting their stuff or having to take the time to call attention to what they did wrong.

          We’re all about free speech here but there is a right way to say things. Free speech (here) does not include defaming people with falsehoods. Nor does it include name-calling. But you know that. Now everybody else does as well.

      • Most of the laity do not know what’s going on. They go to church see the same priest same chanter same liturgy. There’s probably many that would even be surprised to hear that they are even in communion with other jurisdiction . Many are unsure if Russia or Antioch or whomever link to Athos limiting non Greek monks have any connections to their Greek church!

      • Fr. Seraphim Rose writes in his book Nihilism that people can worship satan without even realizing it, due to their passions or fixation on a destructive ideology.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I don’t disagree, but frankly, the point wasn’t about fixations or destructive ideologies. Taken at face value, saying an Archbishop worships satan is not something you want to say if it’s not literally true.

  3. Dr. Matthew Panagiotu says

    I am particularly upset with the archbishop’s allowing non orthodox spouses to receive communion in GOA churches if they were married in such church….clearly not orthodox and a back door to open communion. I heard this from a second party and I believe that it’s true. If not, I humbly apologize.

    Concerning the questionnaire going out to 70 people. I recommend that one is sent to each parish which could then print a copy for each member to respond to…Then you would have a true feeling of the conscience of the whole church in the U.S. Two more questions might be added: Should the American church select its own archbishop apart from the Patriarchate?
    Should the archbishop be an American citizen before he is elected to that office.

    • To answer your first part, the archbishop said that he thinks it should be allowed, but there was never an official decision. Functionally a priest could do it with no repercussions.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I think there would be repercussions.

        • Canonically, there should be repercussions. Realistically, the priest would not be punished. None of the metropolitans want to cross Elpidophoros.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Yeah, that’s not what I said. I said I think there would be repercussions and it has nothing to do with crossing Elpidophoros.

      • Abp. Elpidophoros said somewhere like at L100 that he tells his priests to commune both spouses.

        • Gail Sheppard says
          • It was April, 2020, almost two years ago, when Abp. Elpidophoros expressed his opinion on this topic. Notice the stealthy couching of the language. It’s a radical thing to change policy like this, so he says that it is his opinion and confirms it in public at that later date. However, when a statement like that comes from an archbishop, the primate of a local Church, it is more than just an opinion. It is a foreign flag run up a flagpole in the hope that people will salute it…or ignore it. As we all know, the pandemic hit all of a sudden that spring and the matter was pushed to the back burner. That’s my take, anyway.

            Abp. Elpidophoros’ view is that the non-believing spouse who has been married in an Orthodox parish church to an Orthodox layperson should be accommodated. I.e., the non-Orthodox spouse should be permitted to approach the chalice and partake. The archbishop appears to be offering the chalice out of economia for the unity of the marriage and the solidarity of the family. Hmm. Is it truly pastoral to relax the rules and, by doing so, trash your sacerdotal theology? This is the sort of wishy washy thinking that has gotten the mainline Protestants in so much trouble. Even the Catholics.

            I know for a fact that this liberal accommodation is not just the archbishop’s opinion. How do I know? He visited our parish in January of that year, 2020, and granted his blessing for the spouse of a quasi-Archon type member to receive communion. That spouse did receive communion from the archbishop at the pontifical liturgy, and has done so every time since then. That person’s attendance was rare during the pandemic, of course. The priest does not agree with the archbishop’s extraordinary blessing, but he is powerless to rescind it.

            The genie is out of the bottle.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              If taken at face value, his argument seems reasonable. His true objective, however, is to commune gay people who marry outside the Church. These are the “spouses” he’s concerned about.

              He is too well known to get away with it. We know what he wants and in the GOA, I think he’ll get it. Yet another schism within a schism.

  4. All this stuff about the GOA, the Phanar, the Pope, etc., all has this aura of The Screwtape Letters and I wonder if that is what we should be preoccupied about. I understand that theoretically the CP is still Orthodox, though excommunicated by the MP. And so, it makes a particle of sense to notice from time to time what constitutes their current shenanigans. Perhaps it is to shine a light so that any faithful remaining under the CP or its allies might flee the devil while there is still time.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It’s important because of the split that’s coming and the ensuing repercussions.

      It’s also important because this is one of the few venues where people can see where the laity stands. We don’t want our hierarchs living in a bubble. I don’t think they want that either.

      We also do it because, in spite of what people think, the clergy reads this blog. They have been very good about communicating with us giving us the correct information so people know that we’re just not whistling dixie here. If they don’t like something they tell us that, too.

      The Church is at a crossroad at least as big as 1054. We are in a fight for the survival of our Church and I’m not kidding. If we lose this battle, the Church will become a faux Church like the pretty buildings you might see in Disneyland. The Gospel will be replaced by global initiatives. The priests will be required to accept gay marriage and focus their attention on the environment.

      I can just hear it now: “To be a good Christian, you have to believe in migrations. Here are some Church-sponsored activities to help good Christians help others. I’m am also passing out workbooks to help us learn about climate change so we can decide how we can help. Finally, I hope you all show up for the march next Saturday to show your support for Democratic Party Leader XYZ running for Congress.”

      Many will be fooled by this and a lot of people want this very, very badly.

      Fordham University is hosting art shows with Orthodox icons that have been altered with someone’s imagination of what they mean. Ancient Faith Ministries is hosting writers of children’s books who march in LGBTQRSTUVW parades and are not uncomfortable talking about it. The EP thinks he is the pope of the Eastern world and can bully his way into other patriarchates. He wants to redefine what the “Church” means so he can include the RC among others. He’s moving ahead, regardless.

      Lots of issues. Lots of decisions to be made.

      Most of this discussion is to help others come up to speed so they understand what’s going on.

      • Lots of issues. Lots of decisions to be made.

        Most of this discussion is to help others come up to speed so they understand what’s going on.

        Orthodox Ethos put out a video just two days ago on this very thing:

      • I think it’s important to underline here that all of these disturbing tendencies are disturbing because many GOA laity and even some clergy who are pushing this George Stephanopoulos Orthodoxy are not exactly aware of how off the path this is. To them, it’s perfectly normal to support things like BLM, to consider LGBTQwhatever as “not a big deal” or even justify it as a human rights issue, and so on and so forth. They’ve already created a totally alternative reality for themselves.

        As for other Orthodox Christians who don’t accept this path, they see them as “Rasputins” to borrow from Aristotle Onassis, backward villagers who fall into “conspiracy theories” like the infamous “Ferbie” priest.

  5. IMO, sadly the only crucial church breaking issues are the two ones that the author did not raise:
    – The CP’s First Without Equals ecclesiology that Abp Elpidophoros formulated before becoming the GOARCH primate. It’s a big deal: This kind of teaching by Rome is IMO the crucial one keeping us from union with Rome, since it would subject us to Rome.
    – The CP’s imposition of this doctrine onto Ukraine, where it claims that the schismatic OCU is the one and only Church for Ukraine.

    If the author of the letter wanted something constructive to change, most fundamentally it would have to be the very top down structure of the CP to GOARCH. This is because the CP appoints the head of GOARCH and decisions are made in a top down fashion.

    Personally I agree with points # 1 to 5 against the COVID lockdown, whereas I like BLM marches because I support human rights.


    • Gail Sheppard says

      I wish BLM were just about human rights. It used to be. But they were hijacked by Antifa and then the violence started. (Take a look at their charter before and after Antifa. Very different.) In a society, violence is not a human right. I don’t think most black people would disagree with me. My friends certainly don’t! If they did, the violence would have continued. Instead, black and white people are protesting together about the mandates.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Seriously, I’ve seen several YouTubes of blacks and whites in Canada being part of the Freedom Convoy. This is a real working-class rebellion. These people know they’ve been had.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Hal, I have no problem with BLM if it were a real civil rights organization. So I see your point. However, we’ve known for years now that it’s a racket and it’s higher-ups are nothing but grifters.

      Still, I admire your intentions.

      • “we’ve known for years now that it’s a racket and it’s higher-ups are nothing but grifters.”

        You reminded me of something else:

        “How Much Of Our Money Goes To the Patriarchate? How Much Ends Up In Turkish Hands?”

        I like you and your blog because you cover these important issues with GOARCH when others don’t. If the CP’s leadership acts like a racket and doesn’t do real mission work in Turkey, it doesn’t keep it from being a real Christian Orthodox organization.

        So in this case, I’m not saying that BLM is a racket or that it’s OK for it to be a racket, but that even if that were true, and even if we didn’t agree with some things in its platform, it would not stop its positive activities from being supportive of human rights. Probably numerous loose analogies like these could be drawn between BLM, Trump, the CP, and GOARCH.

      • Yeah, if you’re so interested in protests for the small number of black criminals that get shot dead by cops, then why not organize any protests for the much larger number of black people that get killed by other black people? Or the large number of white people that get killed by black people?

        • Basil,

          It is nice to write with you here on the Monomakhos site.

          This reminds me of the issue of why human rights advocates might protest the unnecessary deadly Iraq War or the invasion of Serbian more than protesting Iraqis’ or Serbians’ crimes. One reason is responsibility. I’m an American and the US government invades Iraq or bombs Serbia as my agent on my behalf. So I have more responsibility for deciding my government’s actions.

          Another reason is practical- to address crime, one should most address its roots, like poverty and abusive upbringing. If police police Americans, then who polices the police? This is certainly the job of Americans.


  6. The UPRs matter only to naive folks who believe in order and rules. After a nearly three month excursion into UPR land, I learned that the rules don’t apply to the archon/100 etc group. Under the guise of spirituality and probably supposed divine guidance, and even though every point I raised supported w data and evidence, the big guys won. After in-person, ex parte meeting(s) w the metro…

    Moral: the rules mean nothing. Not the rules governing day to day operations, and certainly not the rules and tenets of the Faith. I do wonder if the favor that goa had under cuomo still extends.
    So while some folks are buying the stairway to heaven, the nerds among us are trying to follow the rules.

    Another thought unrelated to article, but about epi: the old Greeks observed that a nose shaped like his drips farmaki (poison). Just saying…

  7. One recent court decision lays bare the reality that the Church abdicated from a position of moral authority in society (a long time ago, really):
    Female Air Force officer becomes first to win court injunction against Covid vaccine mandate on religious grounds over the jab’s ‘connection to abortion’

    I believe it was one of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchs who said the Orthodox Church is against abortion “for the most part.” Apparently that Patriarch spoke more for the whole of the American Church than the non-Greek jurisdictions knew, as witnessed by their all-too-eagerly-made, spiritually unreflective, and abject unwillingness even to consider sincerely-held religious convictions to the contrary, vax mandate. Because vaxing is the “loving” thing to do they say, and yet in the same spirit of “love,” they wish sickness and death on the unvaxed. The latest assertion of this woke-ified morality being espoused was in a statement by the Exarch of the Constantinopolitan Throne in America himself, the very Killer-of-Hope. With ambiguous catch-phrases in abortion-choice-friendly language intentionally delivered at the March for Life rally, and given that those words stand in the Assembly of Bishops unchallenged, it adds evidence to the assertion that the Church, even for those in the Church, is no moral authority. So most of our leaders can continue to be the ineffectual spiritual figureheads they are. How so much of Orthodoxy has become a flavorless, spiritually salt-free force for richly traditioned yet spiritually impotent culturally-centric religiosity, is not unexpected, but disheartening still.

    Nevertheless, I take comfort knowing that this falling away from faith is foretold by the sainted elders and those on their way to sainthood. Even in the monasteries spirituality will be lacking, we’re told. Yet the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, though the authentic Church will reside in a dwindling group of people. May we, after all is said and done, be numbered among the “elect.” That’s all that matters.

  8. I realize that among some Greek Americans there’s a certain sentimentality about the Greek Archdiocese, but for decades now it simply has not been the case that at its upper levels the GOAA is interested in spreading Christ and the Gospel to Americans. This task seems to be simply a secondary concern for Abp E or for the “Archons” or anyone else at the upper levels of the GOAA.

    If Americans want to experience Christ through the GOAA, they are welcome to try to do that, but the foremost purpose of the GOAA seems to be (and seems to have always been) to provide cultural/religious support to Greek-Americans as they “pursue the American dream,” and to advance the awareness of Hellenism in the West. Priorities #1 and #2.

    We can hem and haw and say that “it shouldn’t be this way” (and it shouldn’t), but I’ve been around for a while and this reality hasn’t changed over the past several decades. Abp Iakovos of blessed memory tried to pave the way for the GOAA to be part of a united American Orthodox Church, but we saw how quickly he was stomped down. Since then, the leaders in Istanbul have ensured that another Abp Iakovos never rises up.

    The modern reality is that if one is interested in the Gospel and in growing in Christ, the only jurisdictions that are serious about this priority – from the leadership down – seem to be the Antiochians, the OCA, ROCOR, and to some extent the Serbian Church in America.

    This is a sad and very painful reality, but such is our modern American Orthodox reality. Most of us fully believe that the GOAA will go with the EP as it formally unifies with Rome by 2025 — not because that’s what the faithful want, but because that’s what the Istanbul intelligentsia and the “Archons” want. “Anything that advances the cause of the EP and of Hellenism” seems to be the rallying cry.

    Thousands of Greeks and Greek-Americans have found a Christ-centered, Orthodox home in the OCA, ROCOR, or in the Antiochian church. The GOAA leadership simply doesn’t speak our language anymore. Perhaps this is part of our Cross that Christ wants us to carry during these times.

    But to these jurisdictions that still preach the love of Christ from the leadership down and that remain committed to our Christian Orthodox faith which we love dearly and which best expresses who we are as people, to them we lovingly say “ευχαριστώ.”

    • The modern reality is that if one is interested in the Gospel and in growing in Christ, the only jurisdictions that are serious about this priority – from the leadership down – seem to be the Antiochians, the OCA, ROCOR, and to some extent the Serbian Church in America.

      It’s kind of a weird issue. Over the decades, Greek churches have done interviews with TV stations to talk about Orthodoxy and published educational videos teaching it.

      But if they have relatively little evangelization, then it would remind me of the historic situation in Turkey, where proselytism was not allowed, and where one’s ethnicity was identified by religion long ago.

    pastor, no,
    bishop, no
    evangelist, no
    apostle, no
    preacher, no
    teacher, no
    singer, no
    donor, no